Home sweet home. Probably not something Warriors fans have resonated with over the past two months, with their side having lost their last four straight games at Mt Smart Stadium.
- 5 – The Warriors haven’t lost five straight games at Mt Smart Stadium since Round 3, 2005.
- 6 – Their most consecutive defeats at Mt Smart Stadium is six, from Round 24, 1998 through to Round 9, 1999.
- 3 – But the Warriors have won three of their last four games against the Panthers at Mt Smart Stadium.
The sight of the visiting Penrith Panthers won’t exactly fill the fans with joy. Although in-house issues keep threatening to derail their campaign, the Panthers have now won their last four games on the trot after a disastrous start to the season.
- 2 – The Panthers managed only two wins from their first 10 games in 2019.
- 0 – The Panthers are yet to feature in the Top 8 this season. The highest position they have attained in 2019 is 10th. Staggeringly, they featured in the Top 8 in every round last season. Their lowest position was sixth.
- 4 – But they have won their last four games. All four victories came against Top 8 sides: the Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters and Rabbitohs.
However, the Panthers’ scoring form has been woeful to say the least this season – which is rather relatable to the Warriors’ home form of late.
- 19 – In their six wins this season, the Panthers have not scored more than 19 points in a game.
- 557 – No team has missed more tackles than the Panthers’ 557 this season.
- 50 – Their defence has tightened right up of late, though, conceding only 50 points in their last four games. In the three games prior they conceded 30 points on each occasion.
- 40 – The Warriors have only scored 40 points in their last four games at Mt Smart Stadium.
- 40 – Highlighting the Warriors’ lack of points across the park this season, winger Ken Maumalo is the Warriors leading point-scorer with 40 from his 10 tries.
But history shows that this fixture has often been a high-scoring encounter.
- 44 – This will be the 44th game between these two sides, equalling the record for the most times the Warriors have played another NRL side. They have also played 44 games against the Storm.
- 10 – The Panthers have won 10 of their last 14 games against the Warriors. Three of their four losses during that period were at Mt Smart Stadium.
- 25.77 – The Panthers average more points per game against the Warriors than any other current NRL side, at 25.77 points per game.
- 34 – Every game in this fixture since 2015 has had a combined score of 34 points or more.
- 989 – The Warriors have scored 989 points against the Panthers, more points than they have scored against any other current NRL side. That’s an average of 23 points per game.
- 1108 – On the flipside, Penrith have scored 1108 against the Warriors, more than any other current NRL team has in their history.
- 62 – The Warriors suffered a club record 62-6 loss against the Panthers in 2013.
And when these two teams met only five weeks ago, it was very much to the script, with the Warriors posting their second-highest score this season.
- 30 – The Warriors’ 30-10 defeat of the Panthers in Round 10 was their second-biggest victory this season, surpassed only by the 40-6 rout of the Bulldogs in Round 1.
- 4 – The 20-point winning margin was their equal-fourth highest victory margin over the Panthers in the history of this fixture. It was also their biggest winning margin against the Panthers in Penrith.
- 18 – Centre Patrick Herbert scoring 18 points on that occasion from a try and seven goals from as many attempts. It was the equal-second most points and goals by a player in a match in the history of this fixture.
The bye weekend gave the majority of NRL players a chance to refresh, unless selected for representative honours.
- 5 – Both teams have named five players who played over the rep round in their 21-man squads.
- 2 – Only two of the Warriors named starting line-up are yet to represent their country in a Test match. Both are Australians, the freshly re-signed Karl Lawton and five-eighth Blake Green.
- 3 – Underlining their recent in-house instability, only three of the Panthers’ backline from the last time these two teams played have been named: Dylan Edwards, Brian To’o and James Maloney.
- 14 – 14 of the Panthers named in their 21-man squad are under the age of 25, compared to just seven of the Warriors.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Ivan Cleary, who coached the Warriors from 2006-2011.
- 7 – Ivan Cleary is the most successful Warriors coach against the Panthers with 7 wins from 11 games.
- 5 – He also has five wins from eight games against the Warriors as Panthers coach.
- 137 – Nobody has coached more games for the Warriors than Cleary, winning 68 of his 137 games in charge, drawing three and losing 66 times.
Having not scored since Round 9, Warriors winger David Fusitu’a will be hoping to keep up his tryscoring exploits against the Panthers.
- 7 – Fusitu’a has scored seven tries in nine games against the Panthers.
- 15 – By this stage last season Fusitu’a had scored 15 tries, compared with only two this season so far.
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and veteran playmaker Blake Green are in line to play in their 150th career NRL games this weekend. David Fusitu’a is now the most capped current Warriors player.
- 150 – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is set to play his 150th NRL game, having previously played 84 games for the Roosters.
- 150 – Blake Green will also line up for 150th time at NRL level. Green has also played 89 games in the UK Super League for Hull KR and Wigan.
- 92 – David Fusitu’a has become the most capped current Warrior following Solomone Kata’s midweek departure to the Storm. Kata played 93 games for the Warriors.
This is the Warriors’ last game at home until August, so they will want to give their home fans something to cheer about and head off on the road with some confidence under the belt.
- 3 – The Warriors have only won three of their seven games away from Mt Smart this season – marginally better than their home form of two wins from six games.
- 1 – Since their Round 10 defeat of the Panthers, the Warriors have only defeated the second-last Titans, a 24-20 result in Round 14.
Unless they run up a cricket score, a win is unlikely to get them into the Top 8 this week due to points differential.
- 12 – The Warriors are one of five teams currently on 12 points – only two points outside the Top 8. The others are the Cowboys, Broncos, Dragons and Panthers.
But a win is an absolute must if they want to keep with the chasing pack, and they will have no better opportunity than playing at home against a team level with them on the competition ladder.
- 8 – In their last 11 games of the season the Warriors have to play all of the current Top 8 sides. One of those, the Sharks, they have face twice.